Dorothy Cann Hamilton Lived in Her Purpose

The late Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Photo cred: International Culinary Center

Dorothy Cann Hamilton Founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center, what a loss.  This morning I woke up like I usually do.  I flipped through all of the eventful things that my social media connections did through out the night.  My heart sunk when I came across a 5 day old status of one of the many chefs that I admire on Instagram.  The post had the great picture of Hamilton in that “sugar sharp, smart” kelly green jacket paying respect to her memory.  That photo was the first photo that introduced me to Ms. Hamilton last year, when I began my journey of discovering my passion.

March of 2015 I began the process of competing to be a student at The International Culinary Center, on The Rachael Ray Show.  One of the tasks that I had to complete was write my admissions essay on why I wanted to attend culinary school, why ICC specifically, and finally what I wanted to do as a graduate of The International Culinary Institute.  That essay made me really sit in this and contemplate, but also research.  Part of my research to understand what ICC could offer me, brought me to the website.  The ICC website was where my dreams turned into reality.  I researched ICC years prior as The French Culinary Institute, but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the love for cooking then like I do now.  I think I even attended an open house years ago.  Anyway, as I was researching why I should be admitted to ICC now, I came across Chef’s Story, a podcast on the website.

Chef’s Story was a one on one interview of a successful chef interviewed by a very knowledgable, food power hustler named Dorothy Cann Hamilton.  I’m not sure how I figured out that the voice was the Founder and CEO of this amazing school that I could see myself stepping into my purpose in.  By listening to these interviews that Dorothy led, it allowed each chef to step listeners thru how they discovered their passion for food.  The weekend that I prepared my essay I must have listened to 30 interviews as I sat on my couch trying to find the perfect words to describe how much I was sure of my desire to cook, and to learn at ICC.  Listening to the interviews that Dorothy held with many chefs that I admire, and some that I hadn’t heard of but began following, allowed me, the listener to get to know that she was friendly, warm, funny, very well travelled, highly creative and didn’t let much stop her from building one of the best culinary schools in the US.  I also learned that she didn’t mind a little foul language from the chefs that stopped by to tell their stories, so she was no prude.

When I was selected as a finalist, I knew that my time listening to Chef’s Story after Chef’s Story that weekend helped me to understand the possibilities and  to brighten my passion to cook and attend ICC.  When I didn’t win the competition, I was not really sad, because the entire process allowed me to understand my purpose.  I was and am so sure that I will attend ICC that after not winning the competition on the show I connected with Dorothy Cann Hamilton on LinkedIn, just because I knew she would know me eventually.

The culinary world has certainly gained an angel, and even though I never met her or even stood in the same room as her, as an admirer of her entrepreneurial endeavor of The International Culinary Center, and her love of life and learning, I will miss hearing her voice on new episodes of Chef’s Story on Heritage Radio.  And the loss of this culinary icon speaks to the need for everyone and anyone to live for today, and when you identify your purpose in this life, do everything and anything you can to live in that purpose, because Dorothy did.

Back on Track – Asian Stir Fry

Yep, I know, I have been totally MIA accept for random shares on my Facebook page.  I have been taking care of a great deal of personal life stuff.  But I am back, and refocused on myself.  I have been getting more consistency in the gym, and have dialed in the healthy food choices, so I wanted to share one of my meal choices with you, its an awesomely quick stir fry.

Last week after my evening workout at the gym, I needed a quick meal packed with protein and healthy carbs.  So I whipped up a quick Asian stir fry and I have to say, I impressed myself with creating this dish with no recipes.

Asian Beef Stir Fry

2 Tbsp of Coconut Amino (healthy soy replacement)

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp of honey

1 clove of garlic (grated)

2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch

4 oz of top sirloin beef strips

1 cup of broccoli florets

1 med bell pepper cut in strips

1/2 zucchini (I had it so I threw it in)

handful of green beans

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

pinch of red pepper flakes (late thought, after I took the picture)

Ingredients for stir fry

 

Vegetables cooking in sesame oil

Once the beef has been browned in 1 tsp of the sesame oil and set aside, add all of the cut vegetables to the hot pan.

vegetable with beef

When the veggies begin to cook through in the remaining sesame oil add the beef back to the pan, and let the veggies continue to cook.

When the veggies cook through and become tender add the mixture of ginger, garlic, aminos, red pepper flakes, corn starch, and fish sauce to the pan, and toss the veggies an meat in the pan to coat it all.  Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

This meal was filling and was perfect for a post workout meal.  I hope to continue to share more ideas that are helping me get back on track in hopes that I can help some of you do the same.  Feel free to comment with any suggestions that you would like to see going forward.

 

Foodie Engineer Visits Rachael Ray (Day 2)

In my previous post about my trip to the Rachael Ray show I shared my experience and excitement of the first of 2 days as a guest on The Rachael Ray show. I left off concluding the first part of the competition. The next and final part of the competition continued early the next day. We started out in hair and makeup with some fantastic ladies that are great at what they do. Of course there was a lot of waiting, and we actually walked into the building right behind our new best friend Chef Jacques Pépin, he noticed us first and called us over to greet us. Pepin When it was finally time to proceed, during a break, we walked out in front of the live studio audience, can you say “nervous”, because thats what I was, I mean sweating nervous. We were quickly introduced to Rachael and at this point we already knew what the challenge was so we quickly walked thru the kitchens we were to be working in. The final challenge was to repeat yesterday’s challenge and include the suggestions Chef Pépin had for us the day prior, in front of this studio audience…OMG!!. I chose to pair down my food, and focus on the white meat only, and add a sauce to my mushrooms that I didn’t over cook this time around, using white wine and butter (nod to Julia Childs). I had just enough time to taste the sauce and realize it was too salty, and correct it at the last 30 seconds before I plated. Overall I was proud of my dish, Rachael Ray even complimented me on my plating. The play by play can be seen on my youtube channel (youtube.com/foodieengineer).

Set Pic 6

Yes my eyes are closed, they will be open next time I am on the show (wink wink, #speakit #faith)

  In the end I didn’t take home the big win, but I won so much along the way. The experience of a life time to meet the world famous, Chef Jacques Pépin, the exposure of a great show that is watched by many, and most of all the opportunity to realize my passion and purpose on this journey. Plus, I fell in love with the idea of culinary school. When I tell you I sleep better knowing, I know the goal, and all I have to do is execute the plan to get there. This experience has only ignited the fire that began as a spark with me in the kitchen just having a great time. I guess I should tell you what I didn’t win. The winner of the competition received a 5 day culinary vacation to Cancun for 2, and full tuition to The International Culinary Center’s Culinary Arts Program. However, for being top 3, we all received a ton of Rachael Ray Cookware. Now, I am working on menus to begin sharing my food with more people so that I can build my skills and get ready for culinary school. My plan after completing culinary school is to begin my own high end catering business, though it will take some time, I am willing to put in the effort
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to reach my goal, and truly live in my purpose. In an upcoming post I will share all of the goodies that Rachael Ray gave us to take home and cook with.

Summer Dessert Blueberry Pie

plated blue berry pie

Summer Dessert Blueberry Pie
Delicious blueberry pie that is certain to be a crowd pleaser at a summer gathering, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you can not go wrong.
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup ice cold water
  • Pie Filling
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 3½ tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 3 pints fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Pie Crust
  2. In a food processor add butter, flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse the mixture until it comes to a sand consistency. Slowly pour the ice cold water as you continue to pulse the food processor, until a dough is formed. Separate the dough into 2 even balls and press them out into disks, wrap them individually in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Pie filling
  4. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Pour the sugar mixture over the blueberries in a large bowl, and coat the blueberries with the mix. Add the lemon juice. Prepare the pie crust by rolling out one disk, use flour to ensure that the dough doesn't stick to the surface that you are using to roll it out. Place the rolled out dough into a pie plate (I used a glass plate) add the blueberry mixture to the pie plate, roll out the second crust and place over the fruit filling. Cut vents into the pie crust to allow steam to evacuate.

 

Week 2 Let’s Try Again

I have to say everything didn’t come together this week.  I was able to do well with food, because I had all of the meals planned but the workouts were lacking.  But I will get back to it this week.
This week:
Breakfast
Egg scramble with spinach and sweet potatoes
scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes and spinach
Banana pancakes with bacon (agave nectar)

Snacks

Protein and carb combos like, BLT, salad with chicken, apples and almond butter, celery and almond butter

Lunch and Dinner
Spiralized zucchini with kale pesto and chicken
 IMG_4211
3 Large zucchini’s spiralized and sautéed in 1 tsp of olive oil salt and pepper
Pesto:
In a blender add 2 handfulls of clean chopped kale, a bunch of basil, 6 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or any type of nuts) 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, teaspoon of lemon juice.  Start the blender and drizzle olive oil until you get a pesto consistency.  Mix 2 table spoons of the pesto with the zucchini noodles and enjoy.
Chicken Pesto wrap and salad

IMG_4208

Find a low calorie wrap, and mix pesto with cooked chicken breast
Black bean burger with sweet potatoes and kale
 blackbean burger
Mix a can of mashed black beans, with 1/2 a cup of bread crumbs, 1 egg, a minced clove of garlic, and finely diced red onion, teaspoon of pepper, teaspoon of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.  Cook until browned on both sides.

See you later for meal prep and weigh in (bi-weekly) solo pictures are tough as the photographer and model.

Week 1 Photos

Week 1 of the health reset is beginning.  It is so important to take photos so that you can motivate yourself of the progress.  I am not bold enough to show you where I am starting on the scale, but I will share how my fat% will drop as I progress, and I will share my photos weekly as well as the comparison from the beginning monthly.  Don’t forget to share so that we can get some others reset with fitness and nutrition  To remind you of the commitment, here is the plan:

Fit Foodie

  • Friday – Finalize and share recipes and grocery list
  • Saturday – Cook
  • Sunday – Weigh in, photo progress, and work out plan for the week

This weeks workouts will be the same on repeat, but feel free to change it up weekly.  For the cardio, I will be running at least 3 miles or 30 minutes.  The off days will be High Intensity Interval Training.  I will be following the HIIT Max workout they have a sale right now.  I learned about Michael Morelli and have been following him on Instagram and Periscope.  They often share the workouts for free if you do not want to purchase the workouts right away.  I am not making money mentioning the plan, I just have seen it work, and I believe in the HIIT workout.  You can also find HIIT workouts in a Pinterest search

  • Monday- Cardio
  • Tuesday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Friday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Saturday – Cardio
  • Sunday – Rest


The front before photo
This is the before photo

Meal Prep Week 1 Let’s Get It Started

Time to do the shopping for the first week of our transformation.  The goal is to have a balanced meal of a protein and healthy carbohydrate.  Wish me luck, and join me if you can.  Remember to leave comments and feel free to share with your friends.

For Breakfast this week we will have:

Banana pancakes with fresh blueberries and bacon

For snacks during the day we will have:

Almond butter and celery, or apple, or raw almonds and blueberries

For lunches and dinners for the week I selected:

Moroccan Chicken with couscous and sautéed kale

Moroccan chicken with couscous

Baby Spinach Salad

Spinach-salad-with-bacon

The pancake recipe is very simple, 1 banana 2 eggs a splash of vanilla  a tablespoon of coconut flour and a dash of nutmeg.

Turkey Meatloaf
A healthier alternative to meatloaf, that is delicious and moist
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounce container of portobello mushrooms
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 diced green bell peppers
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ pounds of ground turkey (3/4 pound breast, ¾ lean 92%)
Instructions
  1. Set the oven at 400 deg F
  2. Finely dice the mushrooms
  3. Cook bell peppers and onions in oil
  4. Add mushrooms to the peppers and onions cook the water out
  5. Mix mushrooms 4 tablespoons of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce
  6. soak the bread crumbs in milk
  7. Add beaten eggs to the bread crumbs and cooled mushroom mix
  8. Add the mixture to the turkey and add salt and pepper
  9. Form a loaf on a sheet pan (don't use a loaf pan, this a very moist meatloaf)
  10. Top with remaining ketchup

Moroccan Chicken (I pulled a great recipe that is healthy and delicious back from the past)

Spinach Salad

This salad is one of my favorite meals and so simple.  Each salad includes:

2-3 cups of baby spinach and garnished with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, a avocado, boiled egg and 2 strips of bacon dressed with Ken’s Olive Oil Vinaigrette

 

Let’s Get Started

I am getting that nervous excitement you get when you know something awesome is about to happen but uncertainty still lies deep.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I will be chronicling a health reset as I begin to focus on the quality of the food I eat and get back into moving more than from the couch and reaching for the remote.

I am a planner, and therefore if I don’t plan, I don’t move.  So I put together a plan for how I will share the progress and information.  If you think you need to make a change, let’s change together, and if you don’t think you are ready, well, in the famous words of the great philosopher Bruno Mars “Don’t believe me, just watch”.

Here is the plan:

  • Friday – Finalize and share recipes and grocery list
  • Saturday – Cook
  • Sunday – Weigh in, photo progress, and work out plan for the week
See that focus

See that focus?

  • Monday- Cardio
  • Tuesday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Friday – HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Saturday – Cardio
  • Sunday – Rest

My commitment to myself is to remain focused, but not beat myself up or give up when a workout is missed or a poor food choice is made.  The next post will begin this new journey.

And so it begins….

One Year After Rachael Ray

What an amazing year, set off by the awesome experience of being a finalist on The Rachael Ray Culinary Tuition Competition.

Rachael Ray Show

I can’t help but look back on the experience and reflect on how big this opportunity was.  The pride that I have in this life changing experience is not about the appearance on the show, though it was amazing.  The biggest thing that I got from the show was the opportunity to reflect on my life.  Let me explain what I mean.

I have lived my thirty something years on this earth planning and strategizing every single move that I have made in life and career.  When the opportunity came around to send a video in to the show with the idea that the final step would bring me back to the city that I love, to shoot an episode of this amazing show, I didn’t exactly jump at it.  I don’t typically jump at opportunities like that, because this was completely out of my comfort zone.  My sister sent me the opportunity and I contemplated for about a day and decided, what did I have to lose. My job has taken me to a place that I am very far removed from any support system or close friends, I take very few risks, and take less opportunities to just try to see what I may be good at.  So WHY NOT?!  That is what I asked myself, what is the worst thing that can happen, they don’t like my video?  Big deal.  So I put together a video and at the 11th hour with my sister’s help sent it in.  The rest of the story is in my original post.

This being the 1 year anniversary to the day of the first airing of the episode I was featured in, I wanted to give some motivation and encouragement to someone that may need it.  (Please feel free to comment and share this post with others that may need encouragement.)  The process of being selected as a finalist really helped me.  Each conversation with the producers about why I deserved to win, and why I felt so drawn to cooking, and finally writing the essay about my love for food and the culinary experience, led me to exactly where I needed to be.  Though I didn’t win the final reward of a full scholarship to The International Culinary Center, I won the opportunity to discover my passion.  I realize that some people don’t get to even dig in and understand what they are most passionate about because they are so busy living the life that they or others carved out for them.  Once you determine what your passion is, it is important to not ignore it and bury it to never explore it again.  Once you have uncovered your passion, find a way to enjoy that passion, and if you are lucky use that passion to explore your purpose and you just might be able to find a way to monetize or at least regularly explore it for your own personal growth.

Everyone does not get the opportunity to be asked the probing questions to lead you to understanding your passion and purpose.  So, we have to ask ourselves those questions and force ourselves to answer them, and create that vision board that helps you map out exactly what your journey WILL  look like.  Create your intention, and map out the steps it will take for you to follow your passion, in what ever timing you decide is right for you.  But by all means do the work, what is life if we are just living it to complete the next 24 hours, imagine life with dreams and achievements, that you had no idea were possible but you made them possible.  Whew, its powerful just thinking about it.  Know that you have your destiny in your hands, and when you ignore your gifts, you are depriving others of sharing in that gift.

Let’s Plan It (Meal Planning)

After some indulgence, I mean seriously just eating without much thought, it is time to reel it in.  I know that some of you can relate.  You start celebrating wins, and eating through losses, and the next thing you know you are at the store buying new pants… come on, I know I am not the only one.

I first thought about it a few weeks back, but now I am committed, and I wanted to make sure that I share my progress of eating well, and focusing on my health.

 

Working a 9-5 job will require a great deal of planning, so I started by ordering meal preparation containers, because you know that if you stay ready you won’t have to get ready.

The fun began next, I started looking all over Pinterest and Instagram for simple tasty ideas.

Not having an accountability partner, or workout buddy, ensuring that I stay on track is difficult and this is why I figured I will use the blog to keep me accountable.  So share this post with anyone you know, because it will help me with accountability.

  • Friday – finalize the weeks menu (post the shopping list and recipes)
  • Saturday – shop and cook (post the recipes and results)
  • Sunday morning – weigh in and photos (Yup, full transparency)

One of the things that keeps me from eating right is thinking that crappy food tastes better, but I am going to challenge myself and others to show recipes that are really tasty and healthy.  Now if leftovers are not your friend, meal prep is likely not going to be for you.  The goal will be to make about 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and separate them in 5 portions for each.  However, the goal will be to eat at least 5 times a day, which means I need to fill the gaps with healthy snack ideas.  I will not be counting calories, but I will be including protein, and healthy carbs with every meal and snack.  Oh and on the lazy days which do come, I will be making protein shakes, vs driving to the fast food spot by my house, you know the one that has the nerve to tell you “see you tomorrow”, I hate that, only because they have been right often.

The goal is to get back to my fighting figure, and focus on getting my body fat% down, I will be sharing my body fat percentage progress as the weeks go.

For those not interested in the meal prep, I will still be cooking other things, I just won’t be indulging…no for real…I promise, I was a girl scout (girl scout promise).

As far as the fitness portion goes, I will share my fitness goals for the week focusing on 6 days a week of some sort of fitness activity.

If you care to tag along with me on this journey and get better with me, I encourage you to take this time to get your meal prep containers, and some good sneakers.  I will be starting the focused meal prep very soon, and I can not wait to feel more like myself once I get a few weeks under my belt… a smaller belt.

Fit Foodie

I’ll be back to my fit focus